Cabinet on stand
Pierre Gole ( French, 1620 - 1684 )
One of the grandest examples of cabinetry in the Reves Collection is this rare, architectural cabinet on stand. Its front and sides feature pale ivory panels of stained woods and tinted ivories in intricate floral designs likely based on Flemish, German, or French engravings.
This example is believed to have originated in Paris as a result of the ubiquity of ivory-veneered furniture in seventeenth-century capital, as well as the French inscriptions on the underside of each drawer denoting proper placement in the case. In fact, since Pierre Gole was the only cabinetmaker recorded in the royal building records as producing marquetry on an ivory ground, the Reves cabinet has been attributed to Gole by Th. H. Scheurleer (Scheurleer 1985). Its wood, tortoiseshell, ivory, and shell marquetry is remarkable and places it among the finest works by this cabinetmaker, who was almost certainly the first to master the form of marquetry later known as boulle.
If this example is indeed the work of Louis XIV's master cabinetmaker, Pierre Gole, then comparison with another ivory cabinet attributed to Gole and believed to have been made for the king's brother, Philippe d'Orléans, suggests a wide range in the quality of marquetry produced in Gole's shop. Compared to the Reves cabinet, the marquetry on the Orléans cabinet, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is crudely cut and closer to pietre dure work in its stiffness. Perhaps the Reves example was created long enough after the Orléans one (c. 1662) for Gole and his workmen to perfect their marquetry techniques and move beyond the static pietre dure style. Or perhaps the cabinets are contemporary, with the Reves marquetry having been made by another, more skilled craftsman.
- Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1985), 160-161.
- Dallas Museum of Art, Decorative Arts Highlights from the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1995), 49.
- Gole worked for Cardinal Mazarin (Jules Raymond Mazarin 1602-1661) before becoming the principal furniture supplier to the royal court, and in particular to the young Louis XIV.
- Emery Reves purchased this cabinet, along with another one in the collection, in 1967 as a birthday gift for his wife, Wendy Reves.
See another cabinet-on-stand attributed to Gole at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.